April 16, 2009
By Tim Simard
Williston Community Food Shelf President Jill Lang stepped down from her position last week. The resignation came as a surprise to members of the organization’s board of directors.
In a letter to the board, Lang explained her decision.
“The bureaucracy of running the food shelf has morphed into a much larger entity than I am comfortable being a part of,” Lang wrote. “I feel it is best for the food shelf and myself that I resign at this time.”
Lang did not delve into the specifics of her resignation, other than saying there were differences of opinion between herself and Food Shelf organizers.
“Our management styles were different,” Lang said.
Food Shelf Vice President and Treasurer Jeanne Jensen said many associated with the food pantry were “stunned” when they heard the news.
“I know Jill had been frustrated with the operations of the Food Shelf, but this was a surprise,” Jensen said.
The board had a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, but did not vote on a replacement for Lang. Instead, the board decided to reexamine the Food Shelf president’s job description. The board indicated it would discuss the job description at its May meeting and fill the position in June.
A decision on who would replace Lang on the board was also tabled until a future meeting.
Jensen said the Food Shelf is running efficiently right now and helps 100 families a month from Williston, St. George and Richmond. Lang’s exit won’t jeopardize the daily operations of the Food Shelf, she said.
“We have an amazing group of volunteers,” Jensen said.
Lang began her crusade to start a Food Shelf in Williston one year ago after the initial meeting of Williston Into the Next Generation, also known as WING, in April 2008. Last summer, Lang and a handful of volunteers collected donations and non-perishable foods while they looked for a location. In November, the Food Shelf officially opened its doors on Connor Way in Maple Tree Place.
Earlier this year, Lang negotiated with Inland U.S. Management, the owners of Maple Tree Place, to extend the Food Shelf’s rent agreement through the end of 2009. The organization receives free rent and pays only for utilities.
Jensen said while operations will not be affected, future programs being considered by the Food Shelf might “take a hit.” For instance, Lang had been researching a summer food program for economically disadvantaged Williston students.
“She pushed us forward,” Jensen said.
For now, Lang said she needs a break from the Food Shelf. She did not rule out returning to the organization in the future. She said she’s confident the Food Shelf will continue to serve its patrons as it restructures.
“The Food Shelf is solid and it’s in very capable hands,” Lang said.
Art auction to benefit Food Shelf
The Williston Community Food Shelf will host its first online art auction next month. More than 50 pieces of art from local artists will be auctioned off from May 1-7. The items can be previewed before the bidding begins by visiting www.wcfs.cmarket.com.